Halibut Hot Spots near Juneau

Well it’s been some time since I published a blog about where to fish for halibut in the Juneau area. Now there are some favorites close in that are popular with the locals but I’m usually moving and prefer to get away from spots that tend to be heavily fished. Halibut can be found just about everywhere around Admiralty Island, along Chatham Strait and at the west end of Icy Strait. The trick is to figure out where they might be more concentrated during the spring, summer and fall. Halibut are ferocious predators and the big ones migrate. They will feed on most anything but they love pink salmon and during the run look for probable spots off bays with good pink runs. I’ve caught halibut that were following a school of grey cod. And of course, rocky mounds that are the haunts of octopus and rock bass can be good producers.

Smaller halibut like to stay away from the big ones and thus there are many places where you can limit out quickly on 15-20 pounders. In the Ketchikan area, Vallenar Bay on the west side of Gravina Island is what I call a chicken farm. Off Chatham Strait, there is a flat in Iyoukeen Cove north of Freshwater Bay that is a good producer of small halibut. The same goes for the flat off of Pybus Bay near West Brother island and Mud Bay west of Point Adolphus in Icy Strait. My all time favorite is a small flat just off the east side of Drake Island in Glacier Bay. The 20 fathom contour is shaped like a chicken, no kidding.

Along Chatham Strait I’ve tried lots of the 20 fathom benches with good success. One morning just after turning south from Stephens Passage I pulled up along the west side of Lynn Canal just south of Howard Bay, drifted in the 20 fathom zone and had halibut dinner for everyone aboard in fifteen minutes. The same depth at the entrance to Hawk Inlet can be good. Once I did a drift just inside False Bay and hooked a couple of really big gals.

Everyone has their technique for catching halibut. I’ll post mine here in a few weeks.

About Fred Cooper

Alaska resident at the time of statehood and returns annually; professional civil engineer and for 35 years owner of an engineering company; skipper of the Nordic Quest; author, avid fisherman and world traveler. Lives with his wife and their water-loving standard schnauzer in Portland, Oregon.
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